Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Starting a Goliath Gang Guide 2/3; Gang pros and cons

So, building and painting a gang;done. Now onto playing them, well how do they play? What are their strengths? Weaknesses? Don't worry, I've got you covered with a tips list below! 
Lets cover The Good, the Bad, The ugly, Tactics cards, hangers-on, Skill upgrades, and gear options.

First things first lets look at the base Goliath gang stats and options for what they can offer.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good.

Higher than average toughness. Its a doozy. S3 is the average strength of attacks in game. Lasguns and autoguns are the most common weapons in the game. These being forced to wound you on 5’s is one of the best things about picking a Goliath gang.
Firing a scary bolter at me? 4’s please.
Yes, you might be pinned, but this is much less likely than every gang out there.

Higher than average Strength 4. Anything in game usually comes with cost connotations, and generally xp is needed to get this benefit or an extra weapon.
So getting this strength free off the bat is great. A ranged weapon equipped ganger doesn’t need a backup CC weapon as they can generally do what they need to peoples faces, regardless.
This also massively makes grenades more viable with the Sx3 stat. 12 inch range is far better than 9!
Because of their strength Goliaths are one of the few gangs unlikely to hit themselves with the Breaching Charge (range = sx2) as the minimum template size should escape them if it scatters
I guess GW were onto something...
Blanket 5+ (directional based) armour. The Furnace Plates are a great free option. 5+ inside the models facing
Even a 6+ when pinned is great to have.

Low cool. These guys may bottle early if there is a relatively low model count, but they will hang around longer than most because of this.
Cool 5+ across the board keeps these guys in place for a long old time.
If they need to prioritise shooting attacks they can do that too, and this massively helps with one key skill in particular; Nerves of Steel, to ensure they keep walking through the hail of bullets.
I've had gangers hang around as long as the enemy champions comfortably continuing the game.
Just linger here for a bit...
Close combat armoury. A set of melee weapons tools that no one else gets to play with. 
Strength 6 renderizer wounding the majority of gangers in melee on 2’s. 
The +1 WS, disarming, ap-1 brute cleaver is great 20 pointer.
Spud-jacker goodness. No one else gets access to a knockback melee weapon in their default lists. The spud-jackers enhanced strength also means that if you line someone up just right you can get your 2 damage hits, as well as being able to knock someone out of close combat with a reaction attack, and then follow them up with a charge or a shooting attack. Pro-tip, if you’re likely to kill the person in combat, don’t activate first, let them!
Grenade launchers – These beauties will make you happy, 24 inch range and S6 knocks a lot of people down fast. Get the drop on their heavy if you can and assert ownership over the battlefield.

Close combat killers – The combination of the above options means that in a straight unarmed fight, a Goliath ganger will always be coming out on top.
They are harder to wound than anyone else, and hit back harder than anyone else. Add in all of their close combat skills, their inventory goodness and their tenacity, and you've got a great face-wrecker.

The bad
Leadership and Ballistic skill - Theses guys aren’t at the top or bottom of the range for either shooting or leader-ing, middling as they are isn’t bad, but when everyone you’re facing is better than you, and going to be in cover base gangers hitting on 5’s or 6’s isn’t ideal. Leadership skills are a good idea in a Goliath gang to get some extra movement with Overseer, but in reality you should be prioritising getting your leader upfield instead of that lower skilled ganger.

Just not true anymore...
Middle-ish gang costs. The 60 point base cost for a ganger is the second highest behind Van Saar. Both base gangers have notable benefits to this, so although prohibitive to making big gangs, the cost includes their 5+ armour.

Little ranged options. Apart from a boltgun which costs almost as much as the ganger themselves, the longest ranged basic weapon which the Goliath have access to is the Stub cannon. Although it has knockback and strength 5, you get no accuracy bonuses (or negatives) at any range so expect 5’s and 6’s to be your default hit value. Yes you can tool 4 total guys up with Grenade launchers but why would you!

Small initial gang armoury. Contentious one this. Bruisers need bruise-y weapons. Not having access to flashy lasguns and flimsy autoguns seems like a hindrance early on but in reality, they don’t fit their aesthetic.
Skill trees don’t allow much flexibility to fighting style.
The option of non-close combat based skills would be nice, in reality, this again is in keeping with the gangs aesthetic. If you want to be gamey-play Van Saar, if you want to have fun, tool a Champion up with no armour and the Hurl skill and let him go nuts. 

= The ‘bad’ isn’t really bad, this is just the game system corralling Goliath players down the routes they should follow. You shouldn’t have gunfights instead of fistfights, your weapons and skills SHOULD be as meaty as you are!

The ugly
Low movement. This is the biggie. Not being able to get across the board to use all your close combat goodness can really hurt. Expect to spend a lot of your game pinned and getting up. Juves with 5 inch movement seem like they move like the wind.
On a practical note this also means that you cannot climb the majority of the 5 inch high Sector Mechanicus terrain, as Rules as Written means that you cannot end your move climbing (we’ve definitely houseruled that with some enhancements).
Often I find myself making poor cover choices simply because I need to get up the board, and then getting shot apart while pinned or moving in the open.
If that is supposed to be a Goliath, that ain't likely
DO NOT DO THIS. Pace yourself. Use what you can in these situations. Slug Stimm stash is great for boosting this for a guaranteed charge, but far better is the Stimm Surge tactics card which does this until you die, chance it at the beginning of the game to get upfield faster.
The Overseer tactic is great too for a free move if you can get it. At worst, save your critical moves for the end of the phase, hoping to get priority.

Low Initiative. No jumping for you! You can fall, and that’s about it, with Champions and Gangers at 4+, and Juves and Leaders at 3+ you really need to be careful about ledges and edges. The number of times you get winged near a ledge and fall all those lovely 5 inches (S4 ap-1 mind!) and that does that damage. Hug the centres. Find your railings!
Don’t even consider jumping down, anything past 2 inches is a -1, and gets worse.

Low Will and Low Intelligence. These will affect your mission results, more than being a pain when in combat or shooting. Not being able to hack terminals or open doors will affect you. You can hulk-smash your way through those loot crates but otherwise you need brains! Its likely the Willpower trait will also become slightly more painful when Psykers start to get introduced more readily.

= The Ugly is ugly, no bones about it. Closing on your target is a priority. If you get pinned (ohhh you will get pinned!) get up and get moving again, don’t be tempted to risk a shot, get closer and get into better cover, or a better position for next turn. Your armour isn’t impervious to harm so ideally don’t stand in the open if that plasma gunner hasn’t fired yet!
Get used to seeking out the cover beneath the big stacks of Sector Mechanicus and climbing your way up slowly

Gang tactics Cards
I’ve not had a chance to try them all (as sometimes I need to win!) but some of the gang tactics cards I particularly love are:

‘Slugg Surge Play this card when activating a fighter. Tuck this card under the Fighter's card. While it is there , the fighter's Move, Strength and Toughness are each increased by 1. In each End phase, roll a D6. On a 1, the card is discarded and an Injury roll is made for the fighter, using a Damage of 2. On a 2, the card is discarded. On a 3, the fighter suffers a Flesh Wound but the card remains in play.
As mentioned above, is the best in my opinion, a Movement 5, Strength 5, Toughness 5 party for all involved.

‘Ironhide Play when one of your fighters is wounded by an attack that causes more than 1 Damage.The attack only causes 1 Damage. In addition, if the fighter is pinned after the attack has been resolved they return to standing.

Another great one particularly useful for negating multi-wound shots against a champion, and giving them a free ‘stand up’ action

‘Unstoppable Behemoth’ Play this card after an attack is made against one of your fighters, before the Injury roll (if any) is made. The attack has no further effect – no Injury roll is made. In addition, if your fighter is pinned, they immediately stand up.
This one is pretty much a ‘get out of death free’ card which allows you to ignore any hit, before injuries are rolled for- those 6 heavy stubber hits/melta to the face can disappear thankfully.

‘Inhuman resilience’ Play this card instead of activating a fighter on your turn. Each of your Pinned fighters immediately stands up. Then make a Recovery roll for each Injured fighter in your gang, treating Out of Action results as Seriously Injured.
This is a really good one too when things aren’t going your way, and used correctly, having all of your pinned/injured fighters get back up can be a pretty scary prospect, though it does take place instead of activating a fighter which is a bit of a pain.

Hangers on
Light one this, for Goliath boys, the smaller gang size will mean that getting your boys and champions back to work asap is key. Slopper and Rogue doc will be ideal for these over the Ammo jack (hammers don’t need ammo!) or just in front in priority for the Dome runner.
Skill upgrades for XP
Which ones to prioritise? Well for Champions, Leaders and specialists because you can pick it I would by default get your movement values up first. 5xp is easy to earn with 2 games and a couple of kills and the skill doesn’t make them much more expensive.

Gangers you get what you get but the average roll (7-duh) is the movement value benefit or initiative anyway so woop! These guys can quickly get to become seriously scary prospects after a bare-minimum of games.

For champions, why not chance the secondary skillset Shooting, which has a good range of buffs to shooting that Goliath normally don’t get access to. As your champions with 2 wounds will generally be who you want to tool up with the expensive weapons, rather than grunty-mc-gruntface they can actually become fairly scary gun-pigs at range, with toughness.

For Juves, I would hold out for the road less travelled and try for the 9xp boost (if they’ve survived that long) for their secondary skillset for the Agility set, nothing scarier than a giant agile man-child!

Early gear choices.
  • Armoured body glove for a 4+ armour save on your champions.
  • Grapnel launchers. 25 creds of free 12inch movement. (Drop rig if you want to be cheap and get the downward and gaps only option)
  • Incendiary grenades, 5 inch blaze with the Goliath 12inch throw for 10 creds? Do it!
  • Power mauls Power axes, for 30/35creds, the + 2 strength and 2 damage on a one handed weapon with power and disarm are great. +2 strength will mean on average wounding on 2’s for both. If you can get the axe, extra damage and disarm are worth 5 points! 

Tactics summary Goliath are a great characterful gang to play. They are tough, take and dish out hits by the truck. Enemies know this and will seek to keep you pinned down and away from puny Strength 3 goodness. If you can respond in kind, and keep the big stuff away (Grenade those specialists and heavies people!) you can move up field and deal with the enemy quickly.If you can get the pick of sides, take the side which would provide the best ranged offensive, and then stick your guys down low away from the high drops if you can (Goliath have vertigo remember?). Take the high ground benefit away from the enemy!Use cover, corral people where possible and wreck face.

Next time, we'll cover my mission analysis, and try a gang build,


  1. I don't mean to be critical, but I think Goliath are over powered. At least out of the box they have a good synergy of gear and cards

  2. Ashley thats not critical I think thats a fact. I agree, the fact that they walk slow doesn't massively offset the fact that they straight away get +1 Strength and +1 Toughness compared to everyone else.
    Early campaign they are found wanting, but in power rankings they are only slightly below Van Saar and Venators.